The amount of debt you rack up for a Christmas is not how Mainers determine how memorable, how special the holiday season was any given year.
The dollar amount and number of gifts spread under the real fir or pine holiday tree in Maine with the white angel on top and twinkling lights, tinsel, garland is not the determining factor of how good, memorable the holiday season played out in the final analysis.
Christmas in Maine is about traditions, family get togethers and usually involves lots of home cook food.
Delicacies, special recipes passed down from generation to generation. Divinity fudge, peanut butter balls, ribbon candy, chocolate Santas, reindeer sugar cookies with frosting, sprinkles in red and green. Decorations around the inside of the home with items you saved from your childhood house hold.
The plastic 1963 red and white Santa holding the Christmas bulb to light the room brought out to perform.
The one with the crack in it from many falls to the floor during family holiday gatherings. Or just years of use as a reminder that reindeer are coming if you’ve been moderately good. Hand knit large stockings with your name on them wait to be filled. Hanging on a fireplace mantel, or draped on a couch back. Old, special, cherished. Whoever pearl one, knit two their pattern long gone, but not forgotten. Part of the Maine Christmas celebration just the same.
Christmas songs like Up On The House Top Click Click Click, Have A Holly Jolly Christmas with a singing snowman sounding a lot like Burl Eves. Rudolph learning to fly, not treated the best by his fellow reindeer but ending up the hero leading the sleigh team. Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the crew showing right up time to spell out the true meaning of Christmas.
Linus asking in a strong single voice “Lights please”.
One elf wanting to be a dentist. Kevin left home alone for Christmas, again.
Candle light Christmas Eve services. Caroling to shut ins. Decorated houses with outside lights around the small Maine town. Food pantries to make sure others have a brighter Christmas, free of hunger worries. Christmas trees with cards saying take one, “Boy, Nine,” or “Girl, Twelve”. You shop for a few more special people you have never met but reach out to any way at Christmas time. Not for show, or to have anyone else know you are doing it. Christmas is an inside job. It’s secret Santa gifts behind the scenes.
Christmas is painful for those who lost a loved one this year, or that are reminded annually about who is missing.
What they enjoyed about Christmas, and making sure others in the family knew the person departed, but not forgotten has its time in the conversation during party platters, peanut brittle sampling.
The wonderment of small children, so excited about white beard, red suit, reindeer and elves, the North Pole. Writing letters to Santa read over a local radio station. School and Christmas pageants, concerts. In the air of a small Maine town, there is a spirit of Christmas. And it does not mean multiple cart loads of merchandise. It means passing on family traditions. Everything home made, with special meaning.
The oyster or Maine lobster stew, lasagna, prime rib or whatever is on the menu year after year for Christmas Eve to dine on as you dress up, wear Christmas garb. With children of all ages sharing in the wonderment while new snow usually falls outside. Dusting, laying a blanket of white fluff to play on the next day.
The large table the Pilgrims would drool over on Christmas Day of ham, turkey, multiple home grown vegetables, canned and preserved goods. To enjoy after the pretty paper has been torn away. More Christmas music, old and new filling the home.
The right Christmas gift discovered by the person on the written present tag.
Smiling, laughing, part of a Maine family Christmas celebration. Or invited in to a Maine house hold, church to not be alone at Christmas. That is not a native, but just finds himself, herself seperated from their real home this tail end of December. Or that usually has a house full, but logistics just did not allow it this year. Away in military service, kept away because of stormy weather, lack of resources to make the long trip to “Vacationland”.
Warmly pulled in, included, welcomed in to a special family knit group to share their special Christmas holiday. And asked what are you doing for New Years? Plans made to include you because nothing is on the social agenda for the end of the year celebration. You are not going to be alone. Or let’s be alone together the plan. Happy Holidays to all our MeInMaine blog post readers.